Welcome to the WP family, Josh!

Josh is a long-time comrade in programming of mine. He is the mastermind behind the crawler for and the current leader in hours-spent of our TimetableBuilder project. More than just an awesome teammate who keeps the project alive, he is also an avid programmer who inspires me through countless mind-dazzling endeavors. These include computer vision processing (ultimate goal of playing Counter Strike with two pieces of colored paper), robotic arm that can be controlled through the Internet (goal is to feed goldfish from his office), cluster computing (to solve an NP-complete puzzle for grade school students), and many, many others.

Last night, after he showed me his latest beta project: a monitor for reznet quota that warns the user who decides to download more than 6 Gb of stuff in one day, Josh said “I think I want to start a blog. Where do I start?”

www.wordpress.com” was my answer.

A few hours later, Josh has www.javadocs.wordpress.com!

 

I also wanted to start a blog that exclusively contains my programming stuff, but that didn’t happen because my time is like a lost desert traveller’s water bottle after being in the 37 degree sun for 3 days and an epic chase by a lion herd. Not that much left. (To show you that I’m not bs-ing, here’s the link: http://abuncho.wordpress.com/)

 

So I’m glad that Josh is jumping on to the blog wagon, and perhaps, he will inspire me yet again, this time into tech blogging 🙂

 

“Someone took javac and javadoc on WordPress and Blogspot without using these blogs.”

“Bastards!”

My public blog about things I want the world to know

I was quite disappointed with wordpress.com for not being able to import my Google Calendar on here. But as I expected, importing one onto blogspot is as easy as it gets.

So I hereby announce the launch of my public blog:

www.zeroratio.blogspot.com

On there, I’ll post things that I want the world to know. Right now, things up there include RC Events, SCI Team events, and everything else. I think I’ll also write a short description for each of these events explaining who would benefit from it, and why I think it is worthy of sharing.

This is mostly because of the sudden sense of responsibility that I felt becoming the oldest of students on campus… I thought about using www.events.ubc.ca for this purpose, but it’s very user unfriendly and bureaucratic.

That’s my pitch. Au revoir!

How busy is Billy?

I don’t know if it’s by coincidence that several of my friends asked me in one way or another how my life has been since school started. (From one particularly stressed out friend:

how’s skool for u? if u’re gonna say something like oh it’s pretty slack, my easiest year ever, im gonna get a bit violent if i see u on campus. so u should prob make up some really intense story involving computer viruses that need pharmaceuticals or something like that..

Man, I can always count on her to come up with something clever.

I think this post had some hints to all the going-ons of my first two weeks of school, but that post took an exaggerated tone to convey my excitement for being back to school and switching into my favorite gear. So this post is to:

  1. Rectify the impression that I walk around school spotting attractive female students all day,
  2. Inform my friends and mom (being the only person in my family who reads this) exactly what things I’m doing, and
  3. Make my friends who whine about how busy they are appreciate that actually they have it okay.

To put you in perspective, let me first show you this little notebook I have.

As you can see, it’s tabbed. Each tab corresponds to an active project that I am working on. The tabs are: UBCRC, SCI Team, PAC, Plantometrics, CS211 TA, SDS: internet application, and Other projects.

Without this book, I will blow up. (Don’t get ideas now…)

Let’s talk about each tab in a bit more detail.

UBC Reality Club

I agreed to David that I would spend an average of 3 hours per week on RC, the Taiwanese cultural club, of which my long time buddy David is the current president. I think I am spending an average of 10 hours a week as its secretary. But we sort of mutated the typical role of “secretary” into something I think would be better called “executive team manager”.

What do I do?

I wrote a program that takes people’s timetables and compute meeting times and other scheduling tasks such as Club Days. Took me over 15 hours so far. I attend meetings and take minutes that I send out on the same night. I made a box that we will be using on Club Days for members to draw gifts and prizes. I keep track and book rooms for meetings and events. I enter all the info of registered members on the computer. I have to remember a ridiculously difficult line for the script on Icebreaker. I made 2 hours worth of balloon animals on Imagine Day. I went shopping for execs’ shirts.

Those are the trackable hours. Outside of this, I also pay attention to how execs are doing, provide individual feedback and encouragement, etc.

Especially dangerous is the nature of this club: everyone gets to be Really Close friends so socializing could easily amount to an impressive time commitment too.

UBC SCI Team

Aw yes. Students helping students. A team of 17 students work in committees to put on academic or career related events for fellow students. This term I’m on the Get Learn’d Conference (GLC) and Get Into Research (GIR) committees, the first of which had been meeting since May. Since GLC has been going on for a long time, I have a more clearly defined role: organizing the lunch-hour coaching activities and contacting various campus leadership resources at UBC including Orientations, Wellness Center, International Peer Program, and the E Team.

Since more than half of the team are new members this year, I also feel I carry some responsibility as a role model, although I tend to project a fun-loving image to stir up the mood.

I am also looking to co-chair the Beyond the BSc event that will take place in term 2, which will be a huge commitment. At this event, non-traditional career paths for science graduates will be presented (non-traditional as outside of research, academica, and medicine). I also plan to join the Reading Week project committee that will collaborate with inner city schools in Vancouver to develope a 3-day learning exchange between UBC and elementary students.

I might also think about putting out the next issue of The Distillation out, which is a collection of creative writing pieces, poems, etc. of UBC science students to create a collage of what it’s like to be one of us. They printed 1,500 copies for the first issue, and they were all gone in a few days after Imagine (first day of school).

SCI Team is about 5-10 hour commitment per week, depending on whether we have an event this week or not. Tomorrow I’m heading out to help the Meet Your Profs night where first year students mingle informally with first year profs.

Peer Academic Coaching

Academic Coaching is something I’ve been involved with since 2nd year. Practicing active listening skills and helping students develop action plans that could help with their academic needs were very fulfilling experiences. This year I hope to be a more active coach and reach out to students who may need more attention. The internal functioning of the PAC team is also undergoing some changes such as departmentalization for higher efficiency and empowering the Coaches to take lead, which I’m quite excited about.

Plantometrics

This is a paid part-time job I’ve been working on since Spring. A PhD student needs to find out exactly how fast each segment of a plant is growing at time of harvest, so he takes a series of digital photos of the plant for 2 hours before harvesting. He wishes to write a program that tracks this series of photos and calculate how fast each segment is expanding.

I learned enough MatLab to get me through running, editing, and enhancing the scripts that another PhD student (in Computer Science) wrote. The actual implementation of this project is much harder than it sounded, because of our limited experience with computer vision and AI…

This job is about 5hr/week.

Undergraduate TA

I TA’ed introductory Java (CPSC111) last summer, and this fall I came back to TA more advanced Java (CPSC211). So far no big problems. Attending labs and meetings, and later on marking assignments, exams, and probably sitting in at Learning Center for students to ask questions.

It’s 3hr/week now, will probably increase to 5hr/week closer to midterms and finals.

Student Directed Seminar

Oohhh this one is an interesting one. I talked and talked about SDS, and I’m still stuck on getting the course number. Comp Sci wouldn’t give me one because they only give one out every year, and they always give it to an algorithm seminar. Commerce wouldn’t give me one because they think it’s too similar to one of their courses. This project has taken me at least an accumulated 50 hours from brainstorming, writing and revising the proposal, locating faculty sponsors, and finally securing a course number.

I hope it goes through. I hope it will get unstuck soon…

Meanwhile, this is my current seminar description: internet-application-development

Other projects

Yes. I have a wildcat tab in my book with too many tabs already. Under this tab is another programming project: I wrote a Java program that translates some proteomics info from CSV to SQL, and return useful information to the user such as “the 3 heaviest proteins with this designation” or something. I’m not sure whether this is an one-time thing or it will develop into a longer project.

Is that it?

These are the projects that I have on my book right now.

Some other projects that hasn’t been included: CS Trimentoring and Science Resume Peers. But I will talk about them next time.

Beside all those, I also have 5.5 courses (the .5 comes from a 3-credit lab that spans both terms). Gladly these courses are much, much more manageable than my 3rd year, with merciless bombardment of biochem, physiology, and pharmacology.

I also write sporadically on this blog (this entry you’re reading took me 1.5 hours), do random drawing on random things, play bball whenever I find time, try to stay in touch with my other friends, the list goes on.

Also, living in the sky is itself a time consuming luxury. Imagine how much time I spent taking pictures!

In my Linear Algebra class today

The professor wrote a matrix and asked:

Can anyone tell me what the solution looks like geometrically?

A student raised his hand and said:

A plane?

Prof:

Hmmm… a plane? (with a smile that says “wrong answer”)

Another student said:

A bird?

To which the prof replied:

Where is the Superman?

Me:

XDDDDDDDDDD This is going onto my blog tonight.

And then I spent the rest of the class playing

in my head.

Name-tag tie

This is my first painting at Gage, done on a tie.

Please note the ice-cream bucket that is my paint holder. And the bottle with its top chopped off that is my water holder.

Anyway, this time I worked on a silk tie that cost $2 CDN.

1 hour later:

Awwww yeah!

Practical use: High.

Scheduled debut: Club Days @ UBC RC booth.

This will make me so hyper during Club Days…… XDDD

黑暗的盒子

憂鬱的盒子之後, 我又畫了一個黑暗的盒子。為什麼我三不五時就會來一陣肅殺之氣呢?難道我的內心深處隱藏著殺機?

注意看它

  • 重黑色的蓋子!
  • 血手印!
  • 扭曲的鬼臉!
  • 有如被藤條抽打之後的背上的血痕的不明條紋!

呀啊啊啊啊!!!

更可怕的是…

當你打開蓋子以後…

就會看到…

一條…

天藍底白字的註解, 上面寫著: “我也不知道這樣一個盒子可以裝什麼…剪碎的ex照片?” 😄

製作日期: Aug 28, 2008

跳痛指數: 高

最終歸屬: 還在我桌上, 不敢送人

First week of school: Hi, nice to meet you!

I have been so pumped for the entire week. I think the freakin awesome view in my room has something to do with my superb mood, on top of meeting old friends, meeting new people, and having a timetable full with enjoyment.

I had my Meet and Greet hat on the whole week. Imagine Day with RC was wonderful (I spent two hours making balloon animals for university students — and they went fast), SCI Team training at the ropes course was awesome, meeting George for comp sci undergrad TA part time job was a bit chaotic but fun, talking dirty jokes with roommate Thomas was stimulating, finishing that med school application was more than a relief, meeting Josh at his residence: MD5 and learning about his progress with TTB was inspiring, and playing basketball with a cute girl was just plain joy.

I didn’t think I would give out my RC business cards.

But in this past week, I hoped I had those business cards on me on multiple occasions.

E.g. I stayed behind to chat with the activity leader in the ropes course after everyone left, and we started talking about RC. Turned out she likes Taiwanese food very much. I wish I had a card to give her.

E.g. I mingled with people from Comp Sci (did I mention comp sci is the best department? Oh, I did) and felt pretty at home because I knew every single one of the 6, 7 profs on a first name basis. I also got a Student Service Award that came with a usb hub/mug warmer.

I also got to know our head of department, who seemed impressed by my double major with pharmacology, and asked me to send him a resume so that he can pass it onto his friend at Merck. I might take him up on this offer, especially if I can land a job that I’m interested in 🙂

(So seriously guys, networking is key. I started with simply being a little rep in the cs student club and now I feel part of the department.)

E.g. I played basketball today (you don’t have an excuse when the gym is just across the street) with a cute girl, and I wish I had a card to give her. So I went up to my room, showered, and loaded my wallet with business cards.

And I went back to the gym and gave her one.

Alright!

And my classes. 2nd year calculus and matrix algebra came like a heavenly rain after a long drought (I haven’t taken math since 1st year). Artificial intelligence completed my timetable because I just need at least one comp sci to complete my life. Pharmacology seems going in a direction I’d very much enjoy: the science of biochemistry, biomolecular interactions, and away from the clinical toxicology, drug names, etc.

And French 101, baby! I swear I smiled the whole class cuz I enjoyed it so much. I felt like a complete bum being at least 3 years older than the class but the class tickles the part of my brain that hasn’t been tickled for more than 10 years since I started learning English in grade 3. The grade-school feel of the textbook, with cartoon pictures and simple sentenses like “Bonjour”, “Sava?”, “Sava bien! Merci!” just fills me with smile.

This is going to be a good year.

Oh, not to mention there are so many, SO MANY, attractive girls at UBC it’s not even funny. You cannot walk from one place to the next without running to some.

I’ll miss this place when I leave.